In our previous article on Malachi 4:5-6 we showed how this prophecy would have to be fulfilled during the Grace Age. For in verse six it states that Elijah is sent “LEST” he smites the earth with a curse. The word LEST in English means to prevent something from happening. In Hebrew it speak of “removal” or “not”. So God is sending Elijah in these verses for the purpose of showing mercy and bringing grace. In other words, the situation is very bad and God is ready to smite them with a curse if they do not repent. So he is sending Elijah to bring repentance and restoration, just like he did when he was sent to King Ahab and the Northern Tribes of Israel.
In Revelation 11:6 we read of the ministry of the two witnesses, “These have power to shut heaven, that it rain not in the days of their prophecy: and have power over waters to turn them to blood, and to smite the earth with all plagues, as often as they will.” These two witnesses, Moses and Elijah, are smiting the earth. Whereas the Elijah of Malachi 4 is bringing grace.
The objection was brought to me that I did not understand what the meaning of smiting the earth with a curse was.
Someone wrote to me,
“Smite the earth with a curse” is not an accurate translation of the Hebrew text. “Smite the earth with utter (complete) destruction” is a better translation. And given that John was successful in his mission, he prevented the utter destruction of the earth.”
As we wrote before, Luke 1:17 shows that John the Baptist was sent only to turn the hearts of the fathers to the children. The verse ends and does not include turning the hearts of the children to their fathers. The Bible is very specific in the places it leaves off. You can read Isaiah 61:1-2 and Luke 4:18-19. Where Jesus speaks of his own ministry and what will be accomplished, yet He cuts off the 2nd portion about “the day of vengeance of our Lord.” It is very specific in which phrase is left off. He was not there to smite the earth with a curse.
Some say, this does not matter. However, I do believe every word is very specific. Notice, that Paul bases his interpretation of a verse on whether or not one word is plural or not. “Now to Abraham and his seed were the promises made. He saith not, And to seeds, as of many; but as of one, And to thy seed, which is Christ.” Galatians 3:16. Every word and exact phrases are significant. Therefore, the fact that Luke 1:17 leaves off the last portion of Malachi 4:5 speaks of the fact that it should be fulfilled at a separate time.
Now, on to the phrase “smite the earth with a curse”. Let’s examine this closely. The phrase “smite the earth” is very simple depending on the context: it means to strike, to beat, to kill, or to slay. The word for “earth” can mean both earth or land. The next part “with a curse”, can speak of utter destruction. But, let’s look at a fair representation of the word “with a curse” as it is used in in the Bible.
Leviticus 27:21 But the field, when it goeth out in the jubile, shall be holy unto the LORD, as a field devoted; the possession thereof shall be the priest’s.
Deuteronomy 7:26 Neither shalt thou bring an abomination into thine house, lest thou be a cursed thing like it: but thou shalt utterly detest it, and thou shalt utterly abhor it; for it is a cursed thing.
Joshua 6:17 And the city shall be accursed, even it, and all that are therein, to the LORD: only Rahab the harlot shall live, she and all that are with her in the house, because she hid the messengers that we sent.
1 Samuel 15:20-21 And Saul said unto Samuel, Yea, I have obeyed the voice of the LORD, and have gone the way which the LORD sent me, and have brought Agag the king of Amalek, and have utterly destroyed the Amalekites. (21) But the people took of the spoil, sheep and oxen, the chief of the things which should have been utterly destroyed, to sacrifice unto the LORD thy God in Gilgal.
Habakkuk 1:16-17 Therefore they sacrifice unto their net, and burn incense unto their drag; because by them their portion is fat, and their meat plenteous. (17) Shall they therefore empty their net, and not spare continually to slay the nations?
So the word for “with a curse” is used to signify something that is devoted, not something that is merely devoted to destruction. And it is also can be something that is accursed. So it is something that is devoted and it can be devoted for God or devoted for destruction. As you read through the Bible and view this word it is clearly the term used by God in regards to what should be done to the heathen living in the land. The Amalekites were devoted to destruction, they were under the ban of destruction and so were the Canaanites. These tribes were destined by God for annihilation. However, it also speaks of what God did to Israel after they had sinned and rejected the prophets that were sent to them.
Isaiah 43:28 Therefore I have profaned the princes of the sanctuary, and have given Jacob to the curse, and Israel to reproaches.
Zechariah 14:11 And men shall dwell in it, and there shall be no more utter destruction; but Jerusalem shall be safely inhabited.
Since, we see that the Elijah in Revelation 11 is smiting the earth with destruction and the Elijah in Malachi 4 is coming during the grace age we can discern some things that are going on. First, we understand that the church is in a bad condition, they are in need of repentance and restoration, just as Israel was in the time of King Ahab. Second, we understand that God is so angry towards this sin and unbelief that he has determined to bring devoted them to destruction. However, let’s look more closely at the Scriptures.
Romans 11:20-26 Well; because of unbelief they were broken off, and thou standest by faith. Be not high minded, but fear: For if God spared not the natural branches, take heed lest he also spare not thee. Behold therefore the goodness and severity of God: on them which fell, severity; but toward thee, goodness, if thou continue in his goodness: otherwise thou also shalt be cut off. And they also, if they abide not still in unbelief, shall be graffed in: for God is able to graff them in again. For if thou wert cut out of the olive tree which is wild by nature, and wert graffed contrary to nature into a good olive tree: how much more shall these, which be the natural branches, be graffed into their own olive tree? For I would not, brethren, that ye should be ignorant of this mystery, lest ye should be wise in your own conceits; that blindness in part is happened to Israel, until the fulness of the Gentiles be come in. And so all Israel shall be saved: as it is written, There shall come out of Sion the Deliverer, and shall turn away ungodliness from Jacob:
After their rejection of the Messiah and then the rejection of the Gospel of the Messiah, God cut off Israel and devoted them to “utter destruction”, that is he stopped dealing with them and sent an army to bring them out of the land. He did this in order to bring grace to the Gentiles. Then Paul warns the Gentiles that there will be a time of the fulness of the Gentiles, that is the full number of the elected Gentiles will have received the Gospel. God will then turn to begin dealing with the Jews. So, reading between the lines, we can see that the Gentiles should not boast because God can simply cut them off as well and graft back in the Jews. Therefore, we can understand that in the last days perilous times will come and men will be lovers of their own selves, having a form of godliness, but denying the power thereof. They will be religious Christians, but they will not have true faith, “when the Son of man cometh will he find faith on the earth.” God says he will cut off the Gentiles and turn to deal with the Jews. This is the time that Elijah is sent, while the Gentile church is in the position of needing restoration and repentance. The Gentile church is in a state of decay and of apostasy. God sends Elijah for repentance, he is received by some, but rejected by most, therefore, God will soon turn back to dealing with the Jewish people again and devote the Gentile world to destruction.